I anticipated the field trip with great expectancy. Not as an eight-year-old, but as a twenty-eight-year-old I enthusiastically welcomed the break from school. My husband and I had moved internationally four weeks prior and I was ready for a break from language study.
Previous assigned cultural trips included the Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial and the Tamsui Red Castle. The excitement wasn’t so much in where we went, but who went with us. Miss Lo was the perfect escort. Not only did she have an English name I could pronounce, Rebecca was young, vivacious, and outgoing. She spoke clear Mandarin, fluent English, and was just plain fun.
Every time we were together, I peppered Rebecca with questions. “What did that word mean?” “How can I say this?” “Why did they do that?” With my every query, she answered quickly with passion and joy. The city of three million no longer seemed daunting, but every alley and lane became a delight.
After the series of field trips came to an end, Rebecca remained in our lives. We shared meals together and she remained available for cross-cultural adjustment. Rebecca personally knew the stressors of foreign living as she had spent years in Vancouver. The relationship that began with my tour guide resulted in one with my friend. Maneuvering the streets of Taipei became an adventure when I had a personal translator by my side.
As Christians, we little realize that we too have a personal Translator and Tour Guide with us every moment. As distinctive as Rebecca, the Holy Spirit possesses His own Personality and Disposition. He is one of the unique Individuals of the Trinity of God because He IS a Person.
Most of us think of the Holy Spirit as an influence rather than a personage. Since He has no physical body, we have difficulty grasping His individuality. Of the twenty-five or so names of Him in the Bible, each and every reference speaks of the Holy Spirit as possessing knowledge, emotions, and/or a will — all evidences of a distinct personality (1 Corinthians 2:10-11; Romans 8:27; 1 Corinthians 12:11).
We read that He is our Comforter. Other scholars have used words like Advocate, Helper, and Paraclete to broaden our understanding of the depth of this relationship. R.A.Torrey’s definition is my favorite: He is our ever-present “Stand-byer.”
The Holy Spirit is to us what Jesus was to the early disciples. When they were frightened, they called and He answered. When they were confused, He explained. When they were sorrowful, He comforted. Jesus Himself assures us that His departure wouldn’t leave us alone. “He (the Holy Spirit) will be with you forever” (John 14:16).
What would our lives be like should we fully grasp the truth of this indwelling Personality? When you feel alone, you can say, “I am not alone. I have the Person of the Holy Spirit with me” (John 14:18). When you are confused, you can testify, “I can’t see the solution yet, but I have the mind of the Living Spirit of God within me. He will teach me all things and remind me of anything I have forgotten” (John 14:26). When you feel hopeless, you can speak aloud, “My feelings want to despair, but the One within me is greater than these swirling emotions. I have the Person of the Spirit of Life working within me right now (1 John 4:4; John 6:63; Romans 8:2). I will believe past my feelings and watch the power of the Holy Spirit invade me with all joy and peace. I will abound in hope again” (Romans 15:13).
Better than a translator. Better than a tour guide. Better than a friend. Dear child of God, you have One Who is standing by you even now to guide you into all truth (John 16:13). Open your heart and your mind to see all you already have in the Person of the Holy Spirit.